Dir. by Robert Stone - 56 min.
It's difficult to judge things out of their time, sometimes. Usually, a good documentary either is based on fascinating subject matter, or it reveals something shocking and factual. This documentary, released in 1988, is about the Bikini Atoll nuclear bomb tests between 1948 and 1956, and features a ton of archival footage, presumably shot by the military at the time. It was nominated for several awards, including the Best Documentary, Features in the Academy Awards that year.
So I was expecting a bit more than I got here. First off, when I went to the Wikipedia page to find the Bikini Atoll page link, I was surprised to read that there had actually been twenty-three nuclear tests done at this site - the film focuses on only two of them. It's entirely possible that the others were mentioned, despite the short run time, I had to split this film into two sessions to get through it. Secondly, and this is admittedly an admission of my cynicism, I have absolutely no shock left in me when it comes to the US of A steamrolling a small group of people. Relocating an entire island population (granted, only about two-hundred people) so that the military could blow up and irradiate the island over and over again? It not only sounds plausible, but in comparison likely and and entirely reasonable. During the same time span, the U.S. government was also responsible for the Tuskegee experiments and Japanese Internment Camps, so why wouldn't they have done this?
And that's what I mean about it being difficult to judge things outside of their time, sometimes. Twenty-plus years ago, I couldn't just pepper in Wikipedia links to prove my point, and providing information about an atrocity of sorts (I think that the military personnel that were deliberately exposed to radiation were treated more cruelly than the Bikinians, although that particular battle is not a contest I'd want to be competing in) was a much more revolutionary act. But right now, if I learn more about a given subject by reading the Wikipedia entry than I did by watching a feature-length (almost - an hour is pretty short for a movie) film on the same subject, then time hasn't done the film any favors.
2 / 5 - NF Streaming